Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Turn Off, Unplug, Drop Out"

I'd like to present, as a gift to 21st-century youth, the slogan above modeled on Timothy Leary's advice  ("Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out") to those of my generation.

I was on a train this morning where everyone was either looking at or speaking into a phone and I thought once again about how much better the world was before those electronic leashes were invented. People in their teens and twenties today will never know the freedom of traveling for months with no one back in the States expecting any more than an occasional letter or postcard. Then a few minutes ago I stumbled upon this article about a device parents can now install in their teenagers' cars to keep track of them and all of their experiments with speed or other deviations from the norm. The article ends with a warning couched as a simple statement of fact:
"Teens, get used to it. This is America; someone is going to be spying on you for the rest of your life."
It's hard to imagine that some young people (and many of us older people) won't look for at least temporary escapes from corporate, governmental, and familial electronic tethers from time to time, but will we ever see a mass movement to Turn Off, Unplug, and Drop Out? And if that movement develops, will it take place entirely beyond the range of the social media and mass media radar?

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